8 Nigerian Airforce Aircraft (NAF) That Crashed
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is the air branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is one of the largest in Africa.
It consists of about 15,000 personnel and aircraft including 12 Chinese Chengdu F-7s, 3 JF-17 Thunder Multirole Fighter, 13 Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, 12 Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, Helicopter gunships, armed attack drones and military transport aircraft.
In its history, the NAF has experienced a number of air crashes involving some of their aircraft.
In this article, we chronicle some air crashes involving aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Lockheed C-130H Hercules
On 26 September 1992, a NAF A Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport plane, serial NAF911, was destroyed when it crashed near Lagos. It happened when three engines failed, possibly due to high take-off weight.
All 158 people on board were killed, including 8 foreign nationals.
All passengers were middle-ranking officers who had been in Lagos on a Naval tour as part of the senior division course.
The flight took off about 17:30. Immediately after takeoff, one engine failed, followed by a second engine shortly afterwards. The crew tried to ditch the fully-laden plane in the Ejigbo canal, but then a third engine failed as well. The Hercules crashed nose-down into the canal.
On March 22, 2011, a Nigerian Air Force fighter jet crashed while taking off from a flight school near the city of Kano.
The plane, a Chinese-made F7 fighter, crashed near Kano Airport. This occurred after it failed to lift off from the runway the military flight school shares with Kano’s Mallam Aminu International Airport around 12:30 p.m. The plane crashed while still on the airport’s ground and immediately exploded.
The pilot died in the crash. The plane had been brought from an airbase in Makurdi.
The F7 was one of several Chinese F7 jets purchased by NAF. So far all three of the F7 trainers have crashed or had been written off.
CASC Rainbow CH-3 UCAV
On January 25, 2015, a CASC Rainbow CH-3 UCAV crashed upside down near Dumge village in the Mafa District of Borno State.
The two anti-tank missiles on the CH-3’s wings appear to be intact. Borno is the epicentre of the Boko Haram violence, including the massacre of 2,000 civilians. So it appears likely that the CH-3 in question was flying reconnaissance and fire support missions for the military when it crashed. The use of armed drones by Nigerian Airforce in combat makes Nigeria one of the first five countries to do that in combat history.
The CH-3 is a medium-sized UAV capable of undertaking attack missions out to 200km (the range of its ground station). It has a tricycle landing gear arrangement, along with two rectangular canards forward of the wings, and a three-bladed propeller.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation built the CH-3 – a medium-size UAV.
Agusta 109 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH)
On July 6, 2017, The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Agusta 109 Light Utility Helicopter crashed in Borno River. Luckily, there were no casualties.
The Helicopter was said to have been in use for a liaison mission to help in the teaming of the NAF with the Nigerian Army.
It was later found out that the helicopter had a technical fault. This had caused the pilot of the helicopter to lose control. However, he was smart enough to crash-land it in a river to avoid injuries or deaths of his passengers.
On September 28, 2018, a fatal air collision involving two F-7 aircraft occurred. The collision occurred during a formation flying exercise involving an Aeritalia G.222 and three Alpha Jets as they practised flight manoeuvres for the 58th Independence Day celebrations in the Federal capital, Abuja.
As the F-7 jets turned to the formation flying, their wings clipped each other’s side.
Both planes lost stability due to the collision and it resulted in the spiral loss of both jets and they both crashed at the Katampe district of Abuja.
Three pilots ejected out of the crippled jets. The two pilots who were on the F-7Ni ejected and landed with minor G-force injuries. The third pilot on the F-7 ejected and sustained head injuries. The injury was due to the problems from the parachute as it deployed. The pilot later died thereafter, on the way to the hospital as emergency services rushed to the scene of the crash.
Mi-35M attack helicopter
On January 2, 2019, a Mi-35M attack helicopter from the Nigerian Air Force helicopter squadron crashed in Damasak, Borno state.
This was after it was called in to provide close-air support for troops of the 145 Battalion. The troops were combating Boko Haram insurgents.
The mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East. The incident occurred at about 7:45 pm. Nigerian Air Force revealed that five of its officers lost their lives in the Mi-35M helicopter crash.
Nigerian Air Force has over a dozen of Russian made helicopters.
On June 12, 2019, a combat Helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) crashed. This happened while returning from an anti- armed banditry mission in the North West.
The helicopter crashed while attempting to land after returning from an anti-banditry combat mission in the Northwest Theatre under Operation HADARAN DAJI.
The accident occurred around 3.30 pm. The incident occurred at the Katsina Airport. The officers on board were able to exit the aircraft which caught fire moments after the crash. However, there was no loss of life
An eyewitness account said that the helicopter had taken off at about 2.30 pm from the airport. But returned about an hour later, apparently having developed fault mid-air, during its combat mission.
NAF Training helicopter
On November 14, 2019, a training helicopter belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) crashed in the NAF Base in Enugu after returning from a routine training exercise.
Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries to any crewmember or persons on the ground.
The helicopter has crashed on landing in Enugu after a routine flight today.
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